Chair in Health Services Research and Philosophy


Contact Details


I am Professor of Health Services Research and Philosophy and have academic homes in both the Health Services Research Unit (Institute of Applied Health Sciences) on the University's Foresterhill campus and Philosophy (School of Divinity, History and Philosophy) on the Old Aberdeen campus.

My research and teaching are highly interdisciplinary. Broadly speaking, I use philosophy and social research to understand and address concerns about quality, ethics and social justice in health and social care and public health work. I am particularly interested in what are sometimes called person-centred approaches to service provision - you might prefer to talk about the humanity in healthcare. I often use feminist theorising and a capabilities approach to human wellbeing in my work. 

I've had the privilege of working in, and visiting, a number of universities internationally, gravitating back to the University of Aberdeen each time with an extended range of valued colleagues and learning. 


MA, Philosophy (Distinction) The Open University 2008
PhD, Information Science City University, London 1994
MSc, Information Science (Distinction) City University, London 1990
BA (hons), Natural Sciences and Theology University of Cambridge 1986

External Memberships and Affiliations

Visiting Professor, National University of Singapore (2020, 2021)

International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (Joint Co-ordinator, 2016-2020; Advisory Board Member ongoing)

Editorial board member for: 

Asian Bioethics Review

Health Care Analysis

International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics


Prizes and Awards

Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Public Health (2018)


Research Areas

Current Research

I am currently working on two major projects:

'But why is that better?' explores what applied philosophy and ethics can contribute to healthcare improvement. This is a collaboration with Professor Alan Cribb of King's College London. It is funded by the Wellcome Trust until 2023. 

'Developing practical ethics of care for the dead and bereaved' examines what we can learn from the disruption and development of funeral practices during COVID-19. This is a highly interdisciplinary project involving colleagues from four different schools within the University of Aberdeen. It is funded by the ESRC until 2022. 




Teaching Responsibilities

For Academic Year 2020-21 my main teaching commitments are: 

Course co-ordinator for PU5528: Values and ethics in public health

This Masters level (level 5) course is offered as an elective for several postgraduate degrees in Applied Health Sciences. 

Lecturer for PH1522: how should we live? 

This level 1 course is co-ordinated by Professor Beth Lord. I will contribute introductions to Virtue Ethics, Feminist Approaches to Ethics, and the Capability Approach.   

Lecturer for PH306D: contemporary research topics in philosophy

This level 3 course is co-ordinated by Dr Luca Moretti. I will contribute teaching on various questions relating to Trust, and on the use of Thought Experiments to examine ethical issues. 

Project and dissertation supervision:

I will be very happy to discuss supervision possibilities with postgraduate students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds who are interested in pursuing questions relating to questions about healthcare quality and/or ethics and social justice in domains relating to health. I particularly welcome inquiries from people who want to work with feminist approaches and/or to draw on a capability approach.

I also contribute to the supervision of philosophy honours projects relating to ethics and/or feminist philosophy.  





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